Building up the Body of Christ in Love

Building up the Body of Christ in Love

The 2012 Bishop's Conference Presented by the Congregational Vitalization Committee

by Thea Mangels, Office Manager & News Editor

This year’s Bishop’s Conference, held at Trinity Cathedral on April 27 and 28, brought together nearly 200 people for a time of fellowship, education, training and worship.  Overwhelmingly, attendees of this year's Bishop's Conference said that they would recommend the Bishop's Conference to members of their congregation.  In fact, most said that they thought that it was a conference their entire Vestry (or Mission Committee) should attend.  Marti Shortridge of St. John's in Petaluma said of her experience, "I came with a sense of, this is my J-O-B and that is why I have to be here... I am just overcome by joy... I was touched by the liturgy and not just the sermon. It has been quite an experience. I have learned a lot."

Workshops were presented across the spectrum of congregational development.  People were inspired to dig into fields that they previously felt unequipped to mine as a congregation: paperless music, communication (even Facebook), Total Ministry, outreach ministries, and even innovative worship styles.  One participant said he was "taking home thought provoking questions for myself and my congregation." 

The key note presentations for the weekend, "Mortal, Can These Bones Live?" and "Midwifing the New Life of the Spirit in a World Longing for Reconciliation" by the Rev. Thomas Brackett, and "A Biblical Image for the Missional Church: The People of God in Exile" by  the Rev. Canon Dr. Neal O. Michell, were high points for many conference goers.  When asked what her favorite part of the conference was, Lisa Sargent of St. Michael's in Carmichael said, "Thomas Bracket's presentations, the concepts he is sharing."  Another conference participant said that his suggestion for a future conference would be to bring Canon Michell back someday.  The Very Rev. Jeff Frost, Dean of the Superior Deanery and Rector of All Saints in Redding said his favorite part of the conference was "Tom Bracket.  But then, I am a nonlinear, metaphorical thinker anyway."  A fourth attendee said that she enjoyed the diverse perspectives on similar themes and topics that were presented at this year's Bishop's Conference. 

Gathering under the theme "Renewing Our Relationships," high school students from six area Episcopal congregations participated in a special youth event concurrent with Bishop's Conference. Guided by the curriculum offered by Living Compass, the youth focused on tools for renewing their relationships with God, with neighbors and with self. Adding to the fun, the youth spent the night at the Cathedral on Friday night for a lock-in full of fun, food and fellowship. Additionally the young people joined the main conference for the keynote addresses from the Rev. Thomas Brackett, the Soul Collage workshop and were joined by the Bishop for lunch. The students shared leadership in the Saturday morning and Saturday evening worship services as well.

This year's Bishop's Conference was a wonderful chance for the diocese to come together to look at ways to strengthen our congregations; to "build up the body of Christ in love" (Ephesians 4:16).    

Click here to view pictures and videos from the Bishop's Conference.  Click here for information about next year's Bishop's Conference. 

Pictured above left (L to R): Director of Communications Keri Lopez, Jim Sargent, & the Very Rev. Jeff Frost.
Pictured above right: Bishop Beisner with some of the Youth Event participants.

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Betty Harrison-Smith wrote:
I really enjoyed the fact that we had lots of contact with our guest speakers. I attended all of their workshops, not just their keynotes.

Sat, May 5, 2012 @ 7:41 AM

2. Jim Jordan wrote:
My lasting memory from this very, very good conference was Keynoter Tom Brackett's challenge to think boldly about what the Diocese of Northern California could/should be. Daniel Green+'s bold vision was of a Church reconciling all of Northern California to God - all people, all Creation, from the Pacific to the Sierras, from the Oregon border to our southern borders with adjoining dioceses. That's truly a bold and worthy vision. Mine is subsidiary - the establishment, in the next five years, of fifteen new congregations (built on traditional models of missions, but also on various emerging church models) serving the unchurched and the previously churched within our diocesan borders.

Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 6:43 PM

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